Return to Transcripts main page


Mother Of Missing Toddler Arrested; Court Hearing In Ricin Letters Case; Plane Slams Into Hangar; Chemical Plant Explosion; Four Dead In St. Louis Shootings; Alleged Mob Boss James "Whitey" Bulger On Trial; Walked Away From Apparent 5-Story Fall; Amazing Rescue; Power Couple Splitting Up; NBA Finals All Even; Severe Weather Delays U.S. Open; Athletics Outlast Yankees In 18 Innings; Ringo On Display

Aired June 14, 2013 - 07:30   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: We have Pamela Brown to give us details of this story, just an 18-month-old angel of a little girl disappeared, now the mother under scrutiny.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. So many unanswered questions this morning -- the mystery continues around the disappearance of an 18-month-old baby. As this mystery continues, a little girl's mother was taken into custody shortly after a search for baby Elena ended.


BROWN (voice-over): The 25-year-old Angela Steinforth breaks down in court on Thursday, her daughter missing for than a week. Steinforth is charged with felony child endangering of 18-month-old Alayna.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need all the support that I can get to bring her home.

BROWN: The toddler disappeared almost two weeks ago when her mother says she put her down for a nap. Her estranged husband said he came for a custody visit with his two daughters. At first he says Angela refused to hand over Alayna. When she did agree, Alayna was gone. Family members say the mother's story just doesn't add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): She doesn't know where the baby is at or who took the baby. Personally from what I viewed of her, I don't think she showed any emotion of it.

BROWN: Investigators believe the child may have been hurt.

CAPT. WES BOMBREYS: It was known to us that the baby was injured at one point. She was aware of it and did not seek medical attention for the baby.

BROWN: Volunteers have scoured the neighborhood. The streets are lined with posters with one goal, to bring Baby Alayna home, but so far no clues.

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST, HLN'S "JANE VELEZ MITCHELL": We do hope the child turns up alive. Right now, it's a mystery. We don't know what happened to this little girl so the mother cannot be charged for example with murder because no body, no case.

BROWN: Bond for Steinforth has been set at $250,000.


BROWN: And police confirm Alayna is still missing. However, we don't know to what degree the Baby Alayna was injured or even how she might have become hurt. The family believes it could have been the live-in boyfriend of Angela Steinforth, but police will only say the investigation is continuing. We will stay on top of the story, of course, and bring you the latest.

ROMANS: And hope investigators get a break. Thanks, Pamela.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you, Pamela. South African President Jacob Zuma says Nelson Mandela's health continues to improve after spending nearly a week in the hospital. The 94-year-old Mandela is fighting a recurring lung infection in the intensive care unit at a Pretoria Hospital where Zuma says he remains in serious condition. President Zuma is asking South Africans to keep Mandela in their prayers and to wish him a speedy recovery.

A court hearing today for a Texas woman accused of mailing letters tainted with ricin. Investigators say 35-year-old Shannon Richardson sent letters laced with the toxin to President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She was arrested last week and claimed her husband did it. He denied any involvement. Richardson faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

A routine engine check goes wrong. Look at this video.


LEMON: Now this jet will definitely need some repairs and so will the hangar. It jumped some blocks, rolled off the ramp and slammed into a hangar at an airport in California. Three mechanics were on board, but no injuries were reported.

ROMANS: One man is dead at least 75 people injured after a massive explosion at a chemical plant near Baton Rouge, Louisiana. CNN's Nick Valencia joins us now from Geismar, Louisiana with more on the blast that rocked. Good morning.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christine. A day after that deadly explosion the road block is still up making it impossible for the media to get into that chemical plant, but police do tell us some workers have gone back this morning and despite those dangerous chemical smoke plumes that were sent spewing into the sky yesterday, officials say this area is now safe.


TYRONE ELPHAGE, WITNESS: We were passing by on a delivery, saw big flames and ash shooting up, next we looked over the whole unit was engulfed in flames. VALENCIA (voice-over): The flames are now out, the plant is secure, but the cause of the blast that sent fire shooting high above this small Louisiana community remains unclear.

JEFFREY WILEY, ASCENSION PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: The chemical that we think is involved is a highly volatile chemical, but it's not one that would leave the fence line one would think clearly. So we think we're OK in that regard.

VALENCIA: The blast killed at least one person and sent dozens more to the hospital with injuries. Even those who escaped unharmed were left dazed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boom! Like that. Everybody started taking off running, chaos, jumped the fence, jumped the tables, went through the grass, buses running over people, and going everywhere.

VALENCIA: At a nearby Baton Rouge hospital doctors and nurses treating the injured.

LEIGH ANN, NURSE: Just that looked on people's faces, the patients were just shell shocked. You know you talk to people as you take them out of the helicopter and one man said, we didn't even know what happened. We heard a loud boom and the next one was so loud I felt like my chest was going to cave in.

VALENCIA: While investigators continue to assess what happened here Thursday, Louisiana's governor tried to reassure those affected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely once the investigations are done, once there's a responsible party, they'll absolutely be held responsible.


VALENCIA: A handful of people remain hospitalized this morning, but some good news we were at the hospital yesterday and one of those patients who were in critical condition was upgraded to fair condition. A hospital spokesperson tells us this morning that they expect more patients to be released later today -- Christine.

ROMANS: We certainly wish them well. Thanks, Nick.

LEMON: Police in St. Louis say a workplace shooting that left four people dead appears to be a murder/suicide. Investigators believe the owner of AK Home Care was the gunman. A check of surveillance tape shows some type of argument took place inside the office shortly before shots rang out around 1:30 Thursday afternoon. Semiautomatic handgun was recovered at the scene. The victims are described as two women and two men in their early 40s to mid-50s.

ROMANS: Day three of the trial of former mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger gets under way today in Boston. Federal prosecutors plan to call as many as 80 witnesses. Bulger is accused of murder, racketeering, and corruption. Prosecutors already played surveillance tapes recorded 30 years ago, showing Bulger meeting with known mob figures. He spent 16 years in hiding before being arrested in 2011. LEMON: This is incredible video, look at that, so this guy -- a Chinese hotel surveillance camera, capturing this man, the moment that he smashes to the pavement apparently from a five-story fall. What makes this more even amazing though after the crowd gathers two men help him up and he appears to walk away without serious injury.

ROMANS: Wow. All right, in Worth County, Iowa, this amazing rescue caught on camera. This happened along Interstate 35, just south of the Minnesota border. You could see a little girl there in the passenger side of that SUV, two women and a girl trapped after their SUV went into a flooded ditch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Torrential downpour with very heavy rains, poor visibility, poor conditions. This vehicle went off the road into a flooded ditch. Several different fire departments worked together and were able to rescue them.


ROMANS: Wow. It took firefighters about 45 minutes to pull them to safety.

LEMON: Those kids weren't crying, didn't appear to be at least.

ROMANS: No. I mean, everyone was very calm about the whole thing, but you know, Indra Petersons, our meteorologist, always points out it takes just 6 inches of water to take an SUV or a car and have it float so you've got to be careful.

LEMON: Well, still ahead here on STARTING POINT, Rupert Murdoch's shocking announcement, why the media mogul says he and the mother of his two youngest children are splitting up.

ROMANS: And the big three are back, the San Antonio Spurs feeling the Heat after a game four shellacking. You're watching STARTING POINT.


LEMON: Welcome back to STARTING POINT. Another power couple bites the dust, billionaire media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, splitting from his third wife, Wendi, after 14 years of marriage. CNN's Alina Cho is following it all for us. Good morning, Ms. Cho.

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning. Talk about the ultimate power couple, in New York City, Rupert and Wendi Murdoch were the toast of the town, at movie premieres on the red carpet of the academy awards, leading a very public and very fabulous life. Then seemingly out of nowhere, nearly 14 years to the day after they married, Rupert Murdoch, abruptly filed for divorce.


CHO (voice-over): The marriage of Rupert Murdoch and Wendi Deng was a partnership in every sense of the word. He, the 82-year-old chairman and CEO of News Corps, with holdings that include Fox News and the "Wall Street Journal," one of the richest men in the world, and she, aged 44, nearly half his age, a glamorous third wife with a taste for high fashion and high powered friends, but this is what made Wendi Murdoch internationally famous.

In 2011, smacking a protester who tried to throw a shaving cream pie at her husband, as the media tycoon testified before Britain's parliament about his newspaper's practice of phone hacking. The video went viral, earning her the nickname tiger wife. Now their divorce first reported by is front page news. This is Rupert and Wendi Murdoch in happier times talking to our Piers Morgan at this year's Academy Awards.

PIERS MORGAN, HOST, CNN'S "PIERS MORGAN LIVE": How do you feel about CNN doing so well against Fox at the moment?


CHO: The Murdochs met in 1997 at a News Corps party in Hongkong where the Yale educated Wendi worked at Murdoch property Star TV. Two years later the couple married on his yacht in New York Harbor. They have two young daughters and all the benefits that come with being super rich. No word on what Wendy could walk away with. But Murdoch worth $11.2 billion paid his last wife a reported $1.7 billion in what was billed as the most expensive divorce settlement in history.


CHO: The $1.7 billion including $110 million in cash, by the way. Now those who know the Murdochs say Wendi was a huge influence on her husband, including his friends, his politics, even his clothes. Those friends also say that they believe Rupert genuinely loved Wendi and to quote one, "everyone is now trying to figure out what went wrong."

I mean, there were rumors over the years that there were marital problems, but even those who know the Murdochs very well say they were shocked, surprised by the divorce filing and we don't know yet what prompted the split.

LEMON: Especially after the 2011 courtroom incident. She strongly defended him.

CHO: She was protecting her husband. As you know the video went viral, made her famous. We'll see what happens.

ROMANS: The Dow was up 180 points, the second best day of the year for the S&P 500. And everyone was talking about this on Wall Street because he's such a business legend.

LEMON: It's $1.7 billion.

ROMANS: A $110 million in cash.

LEMON: I can only dream.

ROMANS: Yes, you can. The Heat guaranteed themselves a trip back to South Beach with a win against last night against the Spurs.

LEMON: Andy Scholes joins us now with "The Bleacher Report." Hi, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, "BLEACHER REPORT": Good morning, guys. The Heat's big three of Lebron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they came up big last night. They combined to score 85 points and grabbed 30 rebounds. When they produce like that the Heat, they're pretty a hard team to beat.

Now Wade, he struggled a bit during this year's playoff, he finally had a breakout game. He finished with 32 points and 6 steals as promised Lebron also played much better. He led all scorers with 33 points in the game. The Heat ran away with this one in the fourth quarter to win 109-93. Miami they've still not lost back-to-back games since mid-January, absolutely amazing. The series now tied 2-2, game five is Sunday night in San Antonio.

Well, bad weather continues to be a problem at the U.S. Open. Play was delayed twice yesterday due to rain. Phil Michelson was one of the golfers able to get through his first round, a great first day shooting 3 under and he did it with little sleep. Mickelson was at his daughter's eighth grade graduation Wednesday night in San Diego and took a red eye to Philadelphia in order to make his tee time.

He is one shot back of the leader Luke Donald. Tiger Woods made it through ten holes. Bogeys two of his first three, but rallied with a 50-foot birdie putt on the 6th. Tiger is on the course now wrapping up his first round.

Mariano Rivera continuing his farewell tour in Oakland. The A's gave him a personalized surfboard and nice check for his foundation yesterday. That's where the pleasantries ended. This game went 18 innings, Rivera on the ground when Nate Freyman hit the walk off single. The game took five hours and 35 minutes to complete.

The best story of the week from Redskins' camp, 8-year-old Lateef Brock who was born with chronic kidney disease got to spend a day as a member of the Redskins. Lateef practiced with the team and check this out. He is pretty fast, near the end of practice, he goes in for the touchdown and check this out. He's got the touchdown celebration dance down pat. Here he breaks out into the bernie. His favorite player is Robert Griffin III and RG3 has happy to help Lateef's dream come true.


ROBERT GRIFFIN III, REDSKINS QUARTERBACK: I feel blessed he chose me to be the guy he wanted to practice with. He's a pretty good athlete. I was playing with him a lot while everyone was doing the walk-through and it was an honor to meet him and be around him.


SCHOLES: Now Lateef had a successful kidney transplant in November and great to see him running around and being active. ROMANS: Awesome. All right, thanks, Andy.

LEMON: Ahead on STARTING POINT, a brand new exhibit opening in Los Angeles has Beatles fans buzzing this morning. Ringo Starr cleaning out his closets and reuniting with his past, it is next on STARTING POINT.


ROMANS: Ringo Starr is rock 'n' roll royalty. As the drummer for the Beatles, he was there for some of the biggest moments in music. Some of the stuff he collected throughout his career. Tory Dunnan is live for us this morning in Los Angeles. Good morning.

TORY DUNNAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, there, Christine. What's pretty amazing is that Ringo Starr actually didn't even know that he had all this stuff. Apparently, his assistant really saved some of it without him knowing and other items were tossed aside. He showed us everything. Let's just say there were some surprises along the way.


RINGO STARR, BEATLES: And you press --

DUNNAN: Right here?

STARR: Look how easy.

DUNNAN (voice-over): A drum lesson from Ringo Starr? It happened when the rock 'n' roll hall of famer took us on a tour of his new exhibit at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles.

(on camera): From the outside everyone is looking on at the Beatles and they can't imagine what it is like to have been one.

STARR: No, they can't. I couldn't really ever explain it to you.

DUNNAN (voice-over): But now fans can put the pieces together themselves by looking at the man behind the music, his drums, wardrobe and even personal belongings.

(on camera): I love this here, this postcard you wrote to your mom, at the bottom.

STARR: I know. Call me Ringo Starr because it wasn't getting through.

DUNNAN: You got your name by the rings you're wearing.

STARR: I did. In Liverpool everyone sort of got a nickname.

DUNNAN: Would you ever change the name you chose?


DUNNAN: Never? STARR: No, I'm Ringo. Hello, Ringo.

DUNNAN (voice-over): This drum kit is from the Beatles first American appearance in '64 on "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW."

(on camera): What do you think of when you see that?

STARR: I think of an incredible moment of coming to America. Even on the plane, you could feel New York buzzing.

DUNNAN: Do you ever wear any of this stuff?

STARR: Yes, I wear them around the house. No.

DUNNAN (voice-over): Starr even drummed up and developed a book of negatives. These are all photos he's taken during the Beatles' hay day.

STARR: We're in the big, fancy hotel in Paris and George is washing his hands and just took our shirts and do it like that.

DUNNAN: For those that are inspired to become drummers.

(on camera): You're going to see my lack of musical talent.

(voice-over): Then, arguably the most influential drummer in all of rock 'n' roll crushed me like a bug.

STARR: You should play guitar.


DUNNAN: So, Christine, I was looking at that and thinking, did this really just happen? I told him I was an athlete, not a musician. He said, I bet I could still beat you in a running race. That's where all of this stands. This exhibit will run through March of 2014.

ROMANS: What a great inside look at his stuff and a walk down memory lane. Thanks so much, Tory.

LEMON: Straight ahead here on STARTING POINT, fire stroking fear in Colorado. Thousands of people forced to evacuate, waiting and wondering what they will find when they return to their neighborhoods.

ROMANS: And we're so excited "NEW DAY" co-host Michaela Periera joins us. She has an interview with Chelsea Clinton. Find out why the former president's daughter wants to see a movie made about a sexy female engineer. You're watching STARTING POINT.


ROMANS: Our STARTING POINT, Colorado wildfires spreading, the blaze virtually doubling overnight. Two people are now dead and fire crews scrambling to get this wildfire under control. We'll be live in Colorado. LEMONS: Dozens sent plunging into Biscayne Bay when a deck of a popular sports bar collapses right into the water. Witnesses say it happened in an instant.

ROMANS: And then "NEW DAY'S" Michaela Pierera catches up with Chelsea Clinton. What did the two chat about? Stay tuned, find out and you'll get to meet Michaela.

LEMON: You have to say it properly, it's Michaela.

ROMANS: Good morning. I'm Christine Romans.

LEMON: I'm Don Lemon in today for John Berman. It is Friday, June 14th. Welcome to STARTING POINT, everyone.

ROMANS: Let's begin with thousands of homes and ashes and thousands fleeing for their lives and the most destructive wildfire to hit Colorado raging out of control this morning. You're looking at live pictures of the Black Forest wildfire in Colorado Springs. It's wiped out 379 homes and sent nearly 40,000 people packing and now it has turned deadly.

Two people trying to flee the flames consumed by those flames instead trapped in their own garage. Car doors open, tried to escape, but it was too late. Well over 700 firefighters are trying to beat back this monster, but winds keep whipping making it almost impossible to contain. Hundreds more homes are in harm's way right now. Martin Savidge takes us inside the fire zone.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can see over here to the west.

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Up close to the aftermath of a killer fire. This is the first look from ground level at the neighborhoods hardest hit by the black forest fire. No roaring blaze, but the danger remains. Ground crews work hot spots in front of million dollar homes while military choppers hover over rooftops. This ornamental pond became a convenient place to refill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have crews everywhere where there are hot spots.

SAVIDGE: The deeper we drive, the greater the devastation. Here flames burn in ways hard to explain, to the edges of some homes and incinerating others. Despite the evacuation order, I found Dale, a retired firefighter. He remained throughout it all when the flames got close. He fought with everything he had.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, I had some extinguishers I had to put that out and then it got going, again.